Tomorrow never knows yesterday

    Spotlight 2/2020
    Abbey Road
    © teerawat/
    Von Judith Gilbert

    One small step for mankind, one giant step for Margaret Lovelace,” she said as her foot hit the most famous zebra stripe in the world, in front of Abbey Road Studios in London.
    Wilbur and Margaret Lovelace, from Fort Wayne, Indiana, were on the trip of their lifetime. Now in their fifties, they had been Beatles fans since they were teenagers, and had dreamed of coming to London to visit the famous Beatles sites. Now they were.

    “Are we the Fab Four?” asked Vickery, their 13-year-old daughter, meaning herself, her parents, and her 16-year-old brother, Sam, as they marched across the zebra stripes.
    Wilbur and Margaret had to sparkentfachensparked some enthusiasm for their idols in their children, but really, Vickery and Sam were just happy to be in London. Seeing the Tower, the London Eye, and especially the latest Harry Potter in the West End would have been enough for them. Going on The Beatles “magical mystery tour,” as Wilbur called it, was just to to humour sb.jmdn. bei Laune haltenhumor their parents.

    Later, the family visited Savile Row, where the Apple Records offices once were. Wilbur and Margaret looked in aweEhrfurchtawe at the building, but a little shocked that it was now an American children’s clothing chain.

    “Why get so excited about this place?” Sam asked.
    “Honey, this is where it happened — where they played their last concert, on the roof! This was Apple!” Margaret cried, entering the building.
    Vickery gave Sam a look that said: “Forget it. It’s no use. Let them enjoy their fun.”
    “Why did they use the name of a computer company?” Sam asked, checking the messages on his phone as they made their way through the store.
    Wilbur rolled his eyes. “No, the record company was here first. Think of the LPs we have at home. They have the Granny Smith apple on the label. The computers came later.”
    “How did The Beatles make their music, before computers?”
    “They used magnetic tapeTonbandmagnetic tape,” Margaret explained.
    “Magnetic? The sound stuck to it?” Vickery asked.
    “This is where the recording studios were,” Mar­garet said, leading the way down to the basement.
    “Mom, it’s kids’ clothing!” Vickery objected.
    “No, history was made here! Some of the world’s greatest music was recorded right here!” Margaret said. This was not how she expected her journey to be — traveling with iconoclasticketzerischiconoclastic children and finding kids’ shorts where “Let It Be” was recorded.

    Dad, you’re an air-conditioning salesman from the Midwest, not a Himalayan yogi

    “The Beatles were pioneers,” Wilbur explained. “In ‘Tomorrow Never Knows,’ they to stringspannenstrung tapes all around the studios, in loopSchlaufeloops, then played them backwards. That’s how they made those sounds. And with Leslie speakers.”
    “Who’s Leslie? I thought there were only four of them,” Vickery said.
    “No, it’s a machine that … Oh, forget it.” Margaret was giving up.
    “They changed the world,” Wilbur added. “All they sang about was love.”
    “So?” Sam asked. “People sing about love today.”
    “No, but that’s all they sang about. Not this crap (ifml.)Mist, Müllcrap that singers sing about today,” Margaret said with distasteAbneigung, Widerwilledistaste, noticing a Beatles T-shirt for toddlerKleinkindtoddlers.
    “‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ isn’t a love song,” Sam said. “Sounds pretty wasted to me.”
    “It’s about meditation! It’s based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead.” Wilbur was losing patience.
    “Dad, you’re an air-conditioning salesman from the Midwest, not a Himalayan yogi,” Sam said as they left the store.

    “Guys, we were your age once, too. You don’t know who we were,” Margaret said, regretting her words as soon as she spoke them.
    The teens looked hurt. They had never considered who their parents had been at their own age.

    Seeing her mother trying to orient herself on the tourist map, Vickery changed the subject. “The app says that if we want to go to Carnaby Street, we just have to make a right.”
    The family walked in silence to Carnaby Street, where the kids found some of their favorite clothing stores. At one called Maniax, they bought Beatles T-shirts. Sam picked up a book about The Beatles and flipped through it. He stopped dead when he saw an old black-and-white news photo.
    Was that young woman his mother, with a flower in her hair, teary-eyed, at a vigil for John Lennon?

    “Mom, is that … you?”
    “Yes, dear, that’s me. I didn’t know I was being photographed at the time. I was in college in New York. We all gathered at the Dakota, where he lived.”
    “You never told us you were in this photo,” Sam said. “Did you know?”
    “Yes, at some point I found out about it. It was very moving. I guess I just didn’t want to share the pain with you.”
    “Look at all those people,” Vickery said, looking at the crowds in the photo.
    “Our generation lost its spirit. It was terrible,” Wilbur said. Sam and Vickery were still staring at the photo of a mother they never knew, clearly moved.

    That night, the Lovelace family went for a meal and to see a Harry Potter show in the West End. Among the crowd of excited teens were Wilbur and Margaret — happy to be making their children’s dreams come true with this theatrical event, but also knowing that one day, Sam and Vickery would be grown up with kids of their own, and that this evening, this trip, would be a bittersweet memory for the adult versions of themselves.

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